Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Yellow and Blue

These color combinations in the garden are one of Judy's favorites. This weekend the yellow primrose burst open and was contrasted with the blue flowers of the spiderwort. The cells of the stamen hairs of some spiderwrts are colored blue, but when exposed to sources of ionizing radiation such as gamma rays, the cells mutate and change color to pink; they are one of the few tissues known to serve as an effective bioassay for ambient radiation levels

Blooming at this time is a flower that is above the ground level and only seen when the wind blows the blossums from the tree. The flowers are from the tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera.

The tulip poplar a fast growing large shade tree that can grow 15 to 20' over a 6 to 8 year period. As a specimen tree on a large property it has great beauty and in fall can be spectacular.
This large, stately deciduous tree is fairly common in the eastern United States. It can grow to heights of over 100 ft with trunk diameters of 4-6 ft not uncommon. It sometimes takes a conical form, but when grown in the open it often assumes a broad columnar shape that is its signature form.

The distinctive cup-shaped flowers are 1.5 in across and about 2 - 2.5 in in length and really do resemble tulips. At the southern end of its range tulip poplar blooms in spring while in its northern range they'll appear in summer. The handsome flowers are greenish-yellow with orange markings and are held at the branch tips where they can be best admired. Flowers are followed by a brown scaly cone-shaped fruit. The leaves are single squarish-lobed leaves that about 6 in long.


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